A gag order has recently been put on the case of Roger Stone, a former political consultant to President Donald Trump.
The order was placed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson so that lawyers and other authorities can not talk about the case in ways that may, “pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice.” Jackson stated in the order that she has the responsibility to protect an impartial jury and to, “maintain the dignity and seriousness of the courthouse and these proceedings.” However, lawyers, witnesses and Stone himself can make public statements.
Stone has been accused of seven criminal accounts of obstruction of an official proceeding, witness tampering and making false statements. Prosecutors maintain that Stone lied to Congress about his role in the 2016 election, specifically between WikiLeaks and embarrassing information that was stolen by Russian intelligence officers about Trump.
Stone pleads not guilty and insists that all he did in terms of the election was boost information that was already available to the public. He does not support the gag order, as it interferes with his quality of life—being that he makes a living as a commentator and by making media appearances. The judge assured Stone that he could talk to anyone about anything he wanted if he so chooses.
Collectively, Stone and his supporters have been rallying against the Justice Department. Stone says that he was treated worse than Osama Bin Laden when the FBI arrived at his Florida home. His supporters have also questioned how CNN was able to install cameras that captured the whole thing.
CNN explained that their journalists noticed the attitudes of the grand jury, and suspected that an indictment was on its way. They wanted to be the first to cover it. Law enforcement specialists maintain that many officers arriving at the early hours of the morning to serve a warrant is nothing more than the standard procedure.
In an email written to his followers, Stone wrote that “authorities are trying to hurt him by denying him the ability to raise money for his legal defense fund and that he is so low on cash he is literally living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”
Jackson stated that she will be closing monitoring the public comments that Stone makes.
“While it is not up to the court to advise the defendant as to whether a succession of public statements would be in his best interest at this time, it notes that one factor that will be considered in the evaluation of any future request for relief based on pretrial publicity will be the extent to which the publicity was engendered by the defendant himself,” said Jackson.